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As You Like It

Please see the bottom of the page for extensive explanatory notes and other helpful As You Like It resources.

ACT II  SCENE III Before Oliver's house. 
[Enter ORLANDO and ADAM, meeting]
ORLANDOWho's there?
ADAMWhat, my young master? O, my gentle master!
O my sweet master! O you memory
Of old Sir Rowland! why, what make you here?
Why are you virtuous? why do people love you?
And wherefore are you gentle, strong and valiant?
Why would you be so fond to overcome
The bonny priser of the humorous duke?
Your praise is come too swiftly home before you.
Know you not, master, to some kind of men10
Their graces serve them but as enemies?
No more do yours: your virtues, gentle master,
Are sanctified and holy traitors to you.
O, what a world is this, when what is comely
Envenoms him that bears it!
ORLANDOWhy, what's the matter?
ADAMO unhappy youth!
Come not within these doors; within this roof
The enemy of all your graces lives:
Your brother--no, no brother; yet the son--
Yet not the son, I will not call him son20
Of him I was about to call his father--
Hath heard your praises, and this night he means
To burn the lodging where you use to lie
And you within it: if he fail of that,
He will have other means to cut you off.
I overheard him and his practises.
This is no place; this house is but a butchery:
Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it.
ORLANDOWhy, whither, Adam, wouldst thou have me go?
ADAMNo matter whither, so you come not here.30
ORLANDOWhat, wouldst thou have me go and beg my food?
Or with a base and boisterous sword enforce
A thievish living on the common road?
This I must do, or know not what to do:
Yet this I will not do, do how I can;
I rather will subject me to the malice
Of a diverted blood and bloody brother.
ADAMBut do not so. I have five hundred crowns,
The thrifty hire I saved under your father,
Which I did store to be my foster-nurse40
When service should in my old limbs lie lame
And unregarded age in corners thrown:

Take that, and He that doth the ravens feed,
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age! Here is the gold;
And all this I give you. Let me be your servant:
Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo50
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly: let me go with you;
I'll do the service of a younger man
In all your business and necessities.
ORLANDOO good old man, how well in thee appears
The constant service of the antique world,
When service sweat for duty, not for meed!
Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
Where none will sweat but for promotion,60
And having that, do choke their service up
Even with the having: it is not so with thee.
But, poor old man, thou prunest a rotten tree,
That cannot so much as a blossom yield
In lieu of all thy pains and husbandry
But come thy ways; well go along together,
And ere we have thy youthful wages spent,
We'll light upon some settled low content.
ADAMMaster, go on, and I will follow thee,
To the last gasp, with truth and loyalty.70
From seventeen years till now almost fourscore
Here lived I, but now live here no more.
At seventeen years many their fortunes seek;
But at fourscore it is too late a week:
Yet fortune cannot recompense me better
Than to die well and not my master's debtor.

Next: As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 4

Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

Adam's unselfish loyalty to his young master has been anticipated in the first scene of the play. The two leave Oliver's house with few regrets and look forward to a life of peace.

Line 4. memory: memorial. make: Cf. I. i. 27. Adam is ever faithful to the memory of his old master.

7. fond: foolish.

8. bonny priser: big champion or wrestler. Note the haste and excitement suggested by these questions.

11. graces: virtues. Them is, of course, not needed.

12. No ... yours: yours are of this sort.

15. envenoms: makes an object of hatred.

16. Orlando is naturally bewildered.

23. use: are accustomed to.

26. Did Adam listen or overhear accidentally? practices: plans.

27. place: no place to live. butchery: a slaughter-house. Keep in mind the expression on Orlando's face and his action as well as that of Adam.

31-34: What is suggested as the only means of livelihood left to Orlando? Note his excitement. How is it shown?

37. diverted: unnatural here.

39. thrifty hire: wages saved by thrift.

42. What picture do you get here?

43-46: Cf. Luke xii. 6 and 24. What does this prove about Shakespeare and his knowledge of the Bible?

46. Here ... gold: What action?

47-66: An unusual attitude of preaching on Shakespeare's part, but it comes well through Adam.

66-62: Orlando has good reason to be critical of the period in which he lives. It is interesting to note, however, that each generation feels practically the same way.

58. meed: reward.

68. in lieu of: in return for. husbandry: thrift.

68. settled low content: A fine example of Shakespeare's ability to put much into a few words. He intends to find humble employment and settle down in content. Again we find this word which seems to be characteristic of Arden.

72. Here: Adam gives a last glance around. Is he sorry to go?


1. A remarkable scene. What opportunities do both actors have? Which part would you prefer to take? Defend your choice.

2. What method of revealing character is here used by Shakespeare?

3. "Who's there?" The first words in the scene indicate what state of mind in Orlando and what conditions here at home?

4. What do you learn of both men?

5. Find the many fine figures of speech in this scene and comment upon them.

6. What lines are worth your learning?

7. To whom does the scene belong?

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Eds. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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